A cheap lightweight reusable waterproof sleeping bag/shelter which will save your life in an emergency. I have had one of these in the bottom of my day pack for over ten years. To date (fortunately) I have never had to use it, though I have come pretty close a number of times. By the same token I had an elastic bandage, a sling, painkillers and anti-inflammatories in my bag for thirty years before they were needed (when Della dislocated her shoulder on the Dusky Track, but when I did they certainly were needed (as well as a helicopter, and a couple of ambos). It does not hurt to be prepared as Baden Powell used to say. If you had been at Mafeking you might have thought the same!
I have their original one https://www.blizzardsurvival.com/product.php/100/blizzard-survival-bag which weighs 385 grams and has a TOG (a thermal rating somewhat like the R-rating) of over 8. This is akin to a pretty warm duvet or doona. I don’t say that you will be comfy and cosy in midwinter in the Gippsland bush or if you become lost on the snow fields but you will very likely survive a cold night – which is surely a lot better than being dead. Costs UKL33.25. I know this may be more than your life is worth! Perhaps you should consider buying one of these before you eat out at that expensive restaurant or buy that new 4WD!
They also have a number of lighter weight options. This one which has the same TOG rating (8): https://www.blizzardsurvival.com/product.php/111/blizzard-survival-blanket-small It weighs 320 grams and costs UKL22.50. Probably a better option. Why not buy two?
And this one which has a lower rating of 6 https://www.blizzardsurvival.com/product.php/115/blizzard-2-layer-bag-active-range It weighs 280 grams and costs UKL24.50.
And this interesting poncho shelter which weighs 480 grams and costs UKL48.25: https://www.blizzardsurvival.com/product.php/104/blizzard-rescue-jacket I have one of these which I really must shrink back into a usable size with my vacuum cleaner!
See all their products here: https://www.blizzardsurvival.com/section.php/6/
I particularly like this interesting 15 gram (TOG 8) UKL4 hat: https://www.blizzardsurvival.com/product.php/120/blizzard-beanie-hat-without-strap
That has to be a stocking filler for any hiker/hunter, surely? You can surely imagine the ultra light hiker wearing one of those in the bush!At least I would not get shot – or maybe I would!
They even have a pet blanket: https://www.blizzardsurvival.com/product.php/125/blizzard-vet-blanket
I think Spot can see himself in one of these (the cat may not agree, by the look in its eyes):
Something to consider though if you are hiking with cats: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/camping-with-cats/ & http://www.theultralighthiker.com/most-travelled-cat/
This kit looks like a good buy for UK 58 pounds. It includes two Reflexcell ponchos and an emergency blanket: https://www.blizzardsurvival.com/product.php/118/blizzard-emergency-kit
Refelxcell is a three layer laminate which traps air and heat, as you can see:
The idea of Reflexcell™ was conceived 15 years ago when the founder and managing director of Blizzard Survival, Derek Ryden, realized that outdoor enthusiasts and professionals needed something more effective than plastic bivvy bags and lighter than conventional sleeping bags.
Warmth: 8 Togs – equal to a medium weight regular sleeping bag.
Weather protection: fully waterproof and windproof.
Storage: bags may be stored indefinitely, and are not affected by temperature or moisture, either during storage or in use.
Portability: the bags’ small size and light weight make them easy to carry, whether as personal safety equipment, or for rapid deployment in emergencies involving large groups of people.
Re-usability: bags can be re-used many times without loss of performance.
When you get home, a vacuum cleaner will enable you to re-pack a used Blizzard Survival Bag to a very small size.
What makes Blizzard’s Reflexcell™ products so warm?
The cells in the material trap warm, still air, providing insulation.
The silver reflective surfaces block radiated heat.
The elastic causes the material to hug the body, stopping drafts, reducing convection, and keeping the material right next to you where it is needed.
The outer layer is completely waterproof and windproof.
Unlike most other insulating materials, ours works just as well when wet.
As a rough guide, if you are wearing the type of clothes appropriate for the season and you make some effort to find a sheltered spot and put some insulation underneath you, then in spring, summer and autumn you should be warm and comfortable. In winter you may not be so comfortable, but you should be able to survive for several days in all but the most extreme conditions.
How strong is Reflexcell™ material?
Surprisingly strong. Single layer reflective blankets are very fragile because they are easily punctured, and once a tear has started to develop, it rips right across the material. This doesn’t happen to Reflexcell™ material because:
The three layers reinforce each other, and even if one is damaged, the others usually remain intact.
The seams in the material act like the thick threads in ripstop nylon, stopping tears from developing.
Materials only tear when they are pulled tight. The elastic in the Reflexcell™ material helps to keep the material in a relaxed state – if it doesn’t get pulled tight, it doesn’t tear.
At very least you should have some type of survival shelter on you at all times as soon as you step away from your vehicle/comfort zone. I have written about this many times. see for example: